Meanwhile, Hans and the other LSE (the air raid clean-up crew) men are playing cards in Essen, after a long drive from Stuttgart.
Reinhold Zucker claims Hans is cheating. Reinhold is twenty-four years old and smirks greedily when he wins.
Hans is a good sport though. When he wins, he gives the losers lit cigarettes.
Zucker won't take Hans's cigarette.
Death thinks that if Zucker hadn't lost to Hans, he might not have "despised" (70.6) him. And then Zucker might not have traded seats with Hans, and then Death might not have come for Zucker when Death does.
(Death just can't stop foreshadowing, and being cryptic. Don't worry. The full details are ahead.)